Hot August Nights: Chicago Blackhawks

by J.R.

jls82aFor the next seven nights, III Communication presents “Hot August Nights.” At one minute past sundown local time we’ll be reviewing the off-seasons of each Conference III team using the songs of American legend Neil Diamond.

First up, your defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

As suggested by CT from Hockeenight, the story of Chicago’s offseason is Diamond’s paean to sticking with the one you love, “Forever In Blue Jeans” (though, I admit, I was a little disappointed no one picked “Cracklin’ Rosie” for obvious reasons).

Money talks, but it don’t sing and dance, and it don’t walk

Maybe the big story of Chicago’s offseason isn’t what did happen, but what did not. Unlike the summer after their last Stanley Cup win, the Blackhawks didn’t have to send a bunch of guys packing. Bryan “Bingo” Bickell was expected to ship out of town and he re-signed. The team traded Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik. Viktor Stalberg signed with Conference III rival Nashville, but that’s a loss ‘Hawks fans seem OK with in the end.

Honey’s sweet, but it ain’t nothin’ next to baby’s treat

Because the Blackhawks are your wildly successful cousin who never does anything wrong (and by “never,” I mean since, like, 2006), they draft well, of course and the fruits of that are this:

That’s Chicago’s 2012 first-rounder, Finland’s Teuvo Teravainen, who signed his ELC last week.

At June’s draft, the ‘Hawks took Andrew Shaw clone and hometown boy Ryan Hartman, a long-time Blackhawks fan described by Uncle Bob as the top agitator in the draft. He’ll probably become a 40-goal guy, because of course he will.

And if you pardon me, I’d like to say, we’ll do OK

In free agency, the ‘Hawks brought back Nikolai Khabibulin to back-up Corey Crawford. The 40 (!) year old has had his troubles since he was last in Chicago, but I guess they … ahem … pardoned him for that. Speaking of second lives and second chances, Chicago shipped out the delightfully unnecessary Dan Carcillo to LA where he can be re-united with his old pals.

And long as I can have you here with me

In “Forever In Blue Jeans,” Neil sings about the comfort of the known, the kind of love that comes with familiarity. Of course, not everyone wants the ‘Hawks around — both Nashville and St. Louis have implemented policies specifically aimed at keeping the boisterous, high-riding ‘Hawks fans from taking over their arenas.

Check back tomorrow at 7:41 Mountain (8:41 Central) as we review Colorado in the next edition of Hot August Nights